January 27th 2022

Expert tips for Data Protection Day on January, 28th

MCiT & DiBSE Lecturer Pascal Schöttle and his doctoral students provide useful tips for raising awareness of data protection and privacy.


Expert tips for Data Protection Day on January, 28th from MCiT & DiBSE Lecturer Pascal Schöttle and his doctoral students.
Shown in photo, from left to right: David Drexel, Research Assistant; Maximilian Samsinger, Research Assistant; Dr. Pascal Schöttle, Associate Professor; Martin Nocker, Research Assistant; Florian Merkle, Research Assistant. ©MCiT Department

Data Privacy Day (known in Europe as Data Protection Day) is an international event that occurs every year on January, 28th. The purpose of it is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. To mark the occasion, we asked our IT Security expert, Pascal Schöttle, and his four PhD students to give us some helpful insights on how to improve privacy protection.

Here are the tips from our experts:

The Internet does not forget (so easily)!

"With every post, like, or other contribution on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other social networking platforms, one should pause for a moment and consider: What are the chances that I will still be able to identify with this post in ten or 15 years?

You can find out what is available about you on the Internet, for example, by googling your own name or current or former email addresses.

It should be said: Never having published something is easier than deleting it afterwards." Pascal Schöttle, Associate Professor

Only allow essential cookies!

"With the introduction of the GDPR in 2018, website operators are obliged to obtain the explicit consent of users for the use of non-essential cookies. However, the refusal of these cookies is often made intentionally awkward and dark patterns (https://www.darkpatterns.org/) are used to persuade users to accept marketing cookies. Concerning this matter browser extensions can help to automatically surf the web with the best possible data protection." Florian Merkle, Project Assistant

Use temporary email addresses!

"Those who want to register with online services sometimes only have to enter their email address and a password. In this case, it can make sense to create a temporary email address that is used exclusively and uniquely for this website. This keeps your email address secret and reduces spam. There are many websites that allow you to create temporary emails with one click. Specifically, some websites also create temporary Gmail addresses, which are not blocked by online services." Maximilian Samsinger, Project Assistant

Use alternative services that focus on privacy!

"Many online services and programmes are available to users for free, but they finance themselves by recording and passing on various personal data. However, there are many alternatives that are financed by non-personalised advertising or donations instead. Using such services allows one to retain control over one's own data. Particularly recommendable examples are the search engine DuckDuckGo, the messenger Signal and the Internet browser Mozilla Firefox." David Drexel, Project Assistant

Pay attention to privacy on your smartphone too!

"Privacy is often neglected when using smartphones, in contrast to laptops and PCs. However, privacy principles should not be thrown overboard when using smartphones, because mobile devices are usually personal data collectors number one!

Smartphones should lock automatically after a short time and only be unlocked by a pin or pattern. Do not use trivial pins like "1234" or patterns that are too simple!

Messages on the lock screen often contain sensitive information and should therefore be deactivated or the information should only be visible after unlocking.

Apps should only be allowed access to location, camera etc. where necessary or only when using the app." Martin Nocker, Project Assistant

Many thanks to Pascal & his team for the great advice!